Homeschool Nature Program for Kids – Youth School

Youth School - Homeschool Nature Program for Kids“Thank you for all you do for our children. It is a supreme blessing to have adults who care deeply about our children and who are passing on their love for the world and people around us.”
-Dawn Behm, Parent

Wilderness Awareness Youth School is a weekly nature course for homeschooled children ages 7-14. Through creative play and exploration, Youth School participants work together in small groups, gaining nature awareness and knowledge of plants, mammals, tracking, birds, and survival.

During the year there are field trips, optional overnight experiences, and guest instructors in various topics.

Course Registration Details

Register Now When? September to June @ 9am-3pm Thursdays, Fridays
Where? Our land in the foothills of the Cascades near Duvall, WA
Who? Ages 7-14 How much? $2,490

2015-2016 School Information

Course Registration For more information about course registration or to apply, please call our office: 425-788-1301

Class Meets (choose a section)
Section 1: Thurs. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; (Ages 7-9) - also known as the "Foxes"
Section 2: Thurs. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; (Ages 10-13) - also known as the "Coyotes"
Section 3: Fri.. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; (Ages 12-14) - this is a new program for 2015-16

(*We are 15 min. from Woodinville, WA; 20 min. from Redmond, WA; 30 min. from Bellevue, WA; and 50 min. from Seattle, WA).

Classes start September 17 or 18, 2015

Enrollment is open to current students on April 1. Enrollment is open to new students on April 15.


Quarterly Payments** $2,490.00
Non-Refundable Registration Fee of $622.50 due upon registration.
3 Payments of $622.50 (August 15, November 15, February 15)
Must enroll in automatic payments
**$100.00 discount if paid in full by September 1st.

Monthly Payments    $2,590.00
10 Payments of $196.75 (August 15 -May 15)
Must enroll in automatic payments
Non-Refundable Registration Fee of $622.50 due upon registration.

If you require tuition assistance, we invite you to apply online for a scholarship. For more information, go here.

Tuition Assistance
Your homeschooled child (age 5+) can receive valuable tuition assistance that can be applied toward costs at Youth School! More details

Our Educational Philosophy

At the core of our approach to educating young people is our concept of "Passion-based learning." This is the idea that every one of us has special gifts to bring to the world, things that spark our passions in life.

Our school's fundamental goal is to awaken this spirit in our students, and to help them identify and pursue their gifts. We believe that the most effective learning happens when young people are pursuing what they love, and so truly desire to learn.

Equally important is our philosophy that the most effective learning happens when students figure things out "on their own."

In their efforts to do this, they are individually guided by mentors who strive to create experiences and opportunities for students to discover their own answers.

We call this method Coyote Mentoring, a technique that encourages creative thinking rather than providing answers, and results in much deeper learning. It also stimulates the growth of problem-solving skills, and stretches the students into greater self-sufficiency in their living and learning.

Meet Your Instructors

Sol Marie Doran


Sol Marie Doran has been working with children since 1995 and has been mentoring with the Wilderness Awareness School methodology since 2002. She came to the school in 2004 from CA, where she worked with Wilderness Youth Project, ran an early childhood outdoor program, and earned a B.S. in Ecology. She is finishing her last Kamana Naturalist Training Program field pack, is a 2-time Tracking Intensive graduate, and has trained in herbalism at Ravencroft. Since 2008, she has been mentored by Kim Scanlon and Francis Weller on various arts, including modern cultural development, leadership, and emotions. She has an M.A. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Somatic Psychology and is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner Sol has been in various forms of movement training since age 2 and enjoys yoga, ethnic dance, and Crossfit.

Andy Franjevic


Andy grew up in Ohio, where he spent his summer weekends at his grandparent’s cabin by the lake.  He caught frogs and turtles with his brother and sisters and went fishing with his grandpa.  Later, he worked at a state park in Ohio for a couple of years as the Park Naturalist, where he was able to share his passion for nature with visitors and explore the park day and night.  In 2004, Andy moved to Washington to attend Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake Outdoor School.  Since then he has completed his Bachelor’s degree at the Evergreen State College with a project of exploring history and researching his ancestors.  He is particularly passionate about planting trees to create diverse landscapes, which makes his position as Land Steward quite enjoyable.  He also thoroughly enjoys tracking, trailing and watching birds, especially in the company of children.  He is madly in love with his wife Shari and daughter Samara.

Matt McKinney


Matt McKinney has been working with Wilderness Awareness as mentor and student since arriving in Washington in 2009. His heartfelt passion for regenerating vitality in culture extends into all areas of his life. Matt is a student of Chinese internal arts, music and storytelling, and wilderness survival and connection practices. He has a natural gift for facilitating rites of passage and community circles. It is Matt’s greatest commitment to be a mentor for others and to help guide and facilitate experiences that point towards health and connection. He has spent time working at various outdoor schools in the Western Washington areas developing his craft as a facilitator. He enjoys building, gardening, tracking and wandering in the wild lands, writing poems, working with plants, making joyous rhythms and song, practicing martial arts, and engaging with the elements in his local area.

Michelle Van Naerssen


Michelle loves her work!  Since 2001, she’s taught people of all ages on land and at sea, helping to deepen a sense of home in self, community and the natural world.  She brings over 5 years of experience as an 8 Shields mentor (WAS’s methodology) at schools around the country, including the Wilderness Awareness School, White Pine Programs (ME), Primitive Pursuits (NY), Vermont Wilderness School (VT), and Earth Native Wilderness School (TX).
Michelle brings compassion and respect for the many seasons of human development from her work as a birth assistant, hospice support, developing youth rites of passage and somatic therapy studies.  She has worked in the marine and building trades, and loves to make anything with her hands.

Michelle holds a degree from Wesleyan University, studying Human Ecology, and has contributed to research on wolves, eels, and an array of oceanographic sciences.  She is an Anake and ALP graduate.  She is CyberTracker Level III Track & Sign certified and has studied under many wildlife tracking experts around the country.  She is a Wilderness First Responder, and has studied plant medicine for many years.

Outside of WAS, Michelle worked with the OR-7 Wolf Expedition  ( as the Logistics, Equipment and Volunteer Coordinator; co-leads Vermont Wilderness School’s Lynx Tracking Expedition; and is learning to subsistence fish.

She enjoys lighting things on fire, tai chi, and is addicted to imitating bird calls.